Bonnier Corp. & Source Interlink Swap Publications – Cycle World, Motorcyclist, & Sport Rider Now Under One Roof

05/20/2013 @ 4:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler26 COMMENTS

Bonnier Corp. & Source Interlink Swap Publications   <em>Cycle World</em>, <em>Motorcyclist</em>, & <em>Sport Rider</em> Now Under One Roof monopoly money 635x400

Interesting news for American motorcycle enthusiasts, as nearly all your printed two-wheeled information is set to come from a singular company in the coming future. Already the recent purchaser of Cycle World, Bonnier Corporation seems poised to control a significant portion of the two-wheeled industry’s printed and online press.

Inking a two-way deal with Source Interlink, Bonnier Corp. receives in the transaction Motorcyclist, Sport Rider, Dirt RiderMotorcycle Cruiser, Hot Bike, Baggers, Super Streetbike, Street Chopper, and ATV Rider. In exchange, Source Interlink receives the TransWorld extreme and urban sports properties (except TransWorld Snowboarding), as well as Sound + Vision magazine.

According to Bonnier, no layoffs will occur as a result of the transaction (for now, at least), and the reshuffling of publications seems to be more of a sign that the two publishers aim to move away from having diverse horizontal holdings (a publication title in each niche market), to a more vertical structure (owning multiple titles in select market niches).

It is not clear how Bonnier Corporation will “create business efficiencies” within its new two-wheeled acquisitions, it is of note however that consumers will be faced with getting the bulk of their printed motorcycle news from a single corporation.

While our immediate concern with this news is the monopolization of the motorcycle media market, consumers should also be apprehensive about  a singular voice now dominating what used to be a variety of two-wheeled perspectives. We’re sure the parties involved disagree with those two statements, but as always, time will tell.

Source: Bonnier Corp.

Comment:

  1. Damo says:

    WTF/Mindblown.

    I am not sure how I feel about this. Cycleworld is the last bastion of proper, unbiased, honest, American, printed, motorcycle journalism. Hopefully the cream rises to the top, otherwise I’ll have to shell out a pricey sub to Bike UK or Fast Bikes.

    Reading Peter Egan’s monthly column is worth the price of subscription to Cycleworld alone.

    Sport rider is usually way too euro obsessed and often their tests make no fuggin sense (although the are getting better.)

    Motorcyclist Magazine employs Jack Lewis, which is enough reason to never buy their magazine under any circumstances. The man is a sanctimonious douchebag. The mag is a glorified Ducati ad.

  2. Hmm… I’m taken back to circa 1980, when Hachette-Filipacchi acquired Cycle from Ziff-Davis. It owned Cycle World, too. And in their “wisdom” they killed a great magazine — Cycle — and preserved CW.

    Cycle World is no Cycle; neither is Motorcyclist. But unless Bonnier displays an unforeshadowed and nuanced sense of market segmentation, there won’t be two mainstream/broad spectrum titles on the market for long.

  3. paulus - Thailand says:

    … at least the web is still a good source for quality information (and more current too) ;)

  4. 2ndclass says:

    @ Damo,

    You can get a subscription to Fast Bikes online through Zimio rather than paying through the nose to get it shipped internationally.

  5. smiler says:

    Lucky there is AAR and the internet.

  6. Kevin says:

    Usually not a good sign to “go vertical” as it limits AD revenue and shows a desperate grasp to control something when you feel like you’re loosing control.

    Let’s hope Dorna doesn’t see it as only one photographer needed for all those same publisher rags. I could see them charging $500 a photog to pay for those rooms from the Fine Resorts and Hotels listing they stay in like at CoTA.

    Fingers crossed for the publishing industry.

  7. Damo says:

    @2ndclass

    Thanks for the heads up! That is substantial savings.

  8. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    But is there really anything to worry about? The magazines can monopolize all they want right? The world changed, variety is found in this medium. The shift away from the the printed word to “electrons” is probably why this had to happen and it still won’t be enough. No?

    Btw, the real news here is that they bought “Baggers” and “Street Chopper.” Damn them! I am apprehensive about a singular voice now dominating which tattoo covered hotties I get to see in the center pages.

  9. Brij says:

    Damo,
    i will have to disagree with a few of your statements, yes i do subscribe to cycle world (mainly for peter Egans article, that by itself for me is worth the subscription), and to motorcyclist for a better covereage on bikes. over the years i have seen the quality of writing and the material that motorcyclist provides to be lot more user friendly to the every day man than cycle world. It is no ducati ad magazine. but this murger really stinks cos i enjoyed reading the two different views that the magazines had. I hope they are able to keep them that way even after the murger.

  10. Smitch says:

    Used to read both Cycle World and Motorcyclist, but I no longer need across the board coverage of the entire industry when I’m only interested in Sportsbikes. All either of these mags cover anyway is what’s coming out and paint it in the most positive light possible so as not to offend their advertisers.

    Enter Performance Bikes magazine from the UK, I prefer it to Fast Bikes and all the rest. Instead of four or six pages in the back dedicated to “long term testers” they do long articles on older generation bikes and readers rides. Far more interesting. I get news on latest new bikes for free online!

  11. Steve Zielenski says:

    All of these magazines are past their prime. The “editors” seem to be out of touch with today’s market (most are aged dinosaurs) and continue to hype “bold new graphics” as this years better mousetrap. If you read the articles carefully, they are just statistics fests from manufacturer marketing materials – very little of the content is actually “riding impressions”. A sad fact of the industry’s downturn is that older bikes are much more cost effective options and very little has changed for most of the japanese bikes since 2007/08… For my money I subscribe to SUPERBIKE, BIKE and FAST BIKES via zinio and pocketmags etc.. at least they were born in the last 50 years and actually ride the bikes.

  12. John D says:

    If I were employed at Motorcyclist, I’d start sending out resumes. I subscribe to both magazines. The editorials of Matthew Miles, Peter Egan and Kevin Cameron simply make the magazine. In my opinion, Cycle World is the standard of monthly printed American moto journalism. While great internet sites like A&R will continue to provide more current info, sometimes there is simply something better about print.

  13. Damo says:

    BIKE and FAST BIKES have really become my new favorites.

    I am going to take everyone’s advice here and hit up some zinio subs. Hadn’t even heard of the service before today actually.

  14. Slothrop says:

    I’ve gotten Bike magazine for many years through Motorsport Publications:

    http://classicbikebooks.com/catalog/index.php/magazine-subscriptions-c-27

    It’s a great mag. The U.S. mags seem really childish and pathetic in comparison.

  15. jr2 says:

    This generation of print is at best on life support…

    CW, MS, SR, at one time I was an avid reader and subscriber to them all… no more…

    They all it seems to me, are caught in the past (1980′s and 1990′s, even the 1970′s.. jeez!) and even though I’m of that generation, I just don’t pine for the past that much (which is why I find Egan UNreadable… and while I respect Cameron technical chops immensely, but he too is of a generation past…).

    Also, I don’t find the info included useful and TIMELY (and you can partially blame the US Postal Service for their asinine magazine delivery schedules (two weeks after they hit the stores, come on…)).

    As for the web sites for these mags, they bagger me unmercifully with ads so I just don’t go there very often (or google my way into a specific article or topic).

    And please, stop talking about Cycle… yes it was a good read… but it’s been gone for 20 years… get over it…

    So, as my generation ages and dies, or buys a cruiser or an “adventure” bike (jeez… what a euphemism for “old dude bike”) the subscriber base for these mags slowly goes with it…

    The brit mags are better, but, they still suffer from the same USPS issues

    The web is a better option for me… but no one seems to have found the “right combo” yet… (AAR is a leader in my opinion… but survives it seems because of it’s small size and relative small profit requirements… See MotoMatters as another reasonable example of a small boutique focused on the MotoGP world, of great content yet terrible format…)

    And no trees get killed for 50% of the print run to end up in the dumpster (sorry, recycle bin)…

  16. fazer6 says:

    Too bad. HFL is dead now too, just a bunch of ad-pandering shills there now.

  17. Randy says:

    Smitch said:
    “All either of these mags cover anyway is what’s coming out and paint it in the most positive light possible so as not to offend their advertisers.”

    I have to agree. Ever since Motorcyclist ran the article “Motorcycle Helmet Performance: Blowing the Lid Off”
    http://www.westcoastweasels.com/archives/PDF/Blowing_the_Lid_Off.pdf
    and subsequently lost helmet advertising, and as a result fired Dexter Ford:
    http://rideapart.com/2010/07/leaked-docs-show-motorcyclist-caved-to-advertiser-pressure-fired-editor/
    American motorcycle magazines have lost all objectivity. They never criticize anything. They never do exposés anymore. They are still an interesting read, but are more like reading a product brochure than a piece of journalism.

  18. Monopolies are always always bad for consumers, employees and societies. Once you have no alternative, you have to accept whatever they drop at your feet, because there’s nowhere else to go. Monopolies are the opposite free markets and free enterprise.

  19. Tanker Man says:

    I get all three rags (Sport Rider, Motorcyclist, and Cycle World). I should get a bundle discount. One thing I’ve learned, after having test-ridden a lot of high-performance bikes and buying a lot of them, is one has to read between the lines on the magazine test-ride articles. They gloss over major faults so subtly that you don’t realize it until one has read hundreds of articles and test-ridden dozens of the bikes written about.

    May The Force Be With You

  20. Faust says:

    @tankerman

    I think you’ll find that while American mags gloss over major faults, several British mags don’t. Pick up Fast Bike and see what you think. My take on the Brit mags is this:

    Fast Bike – great writing, great pictures, honest reviews. The writing style is a bit relaxed and uses a sprinkling of UK terminology and occasional profanity (ie when they compared the speed triple to the Ducati Streetfighter, they referred to the speed triple as “shit” by comparison. Pulling no punches for a British mag reviewing a Brit bike eh?) Definitely focused on the sportier side.

    Bike – the single greatest bike magazine ever. More broad range of topics than Fast Bike, a lot of interesting historical articles comparing classic bikes from rival manufacturers. An all around great read.

    Performance Bike – good effort, but a little amateurish. Very interesting articles, good interviews, but not as high quality as the previous two. You’ll notice the occasional blatant typo and some of the writers (read Emma) go way off the deep end of British slang. Still good though.

    Superbike – in the past it used to be kind of like the UK version of SSB where it was more about looking at pics of girls than reading about good topics. Then it got good for a while and now under new leadership it’s just garbage. For example, they wrote an article about whether or not traction control on street bikes can make you faster on the track. They put a track day novice on an s1000rr with abs and traction control and had him do laps. Then they had him go out on a stock GSX-R 1000…. Surprise surprise, he was faster on the BMW. They then claimed that the traction control helps, but you still need to work on throttle control skills to go fast on track… No kidding? I mean why not just turn the TC off on the BMW? Stupid. I’ll never read this one again.

  21. Tanker Man says:

    Why did they drop my previous comment? Must have been too hard hitting.

  22. Tanker Man says:

    @ Faust. Thanks!

  23. Damo says:

    @Faust

    Perfect summary.

  24. alex says:

    The single biggest problem is that they just like many companies producing them have lost the point – selling motorcycles to motorcyclists is easy – Honda overlooking the fact that many more people go to SEMA than any motorcycle show and devoting 20 feet of floor space to new models is just dumb.

    In this business they need to move from focus groups to open mikes and find the disconnect.

    The same thing that drives new motorcycle sales drives readership.

  25. Moto bell says:

    Don’t get ZINIO anymore .. Get the direct mags in iPad. Bike and fast bikes are best.. I never missed a single copy of cycle world nice I came to the US 20 years ago.. But all American auto and moto mags suck when compared to Brit mags. Besides few good features there are just marketing pamphlets.

  26. zipidachimp says:

    I’ve still got the last issue of ‘Cycle’. It’s going with me to the grave.
    All I buy now is Motorcycle Classics and Cafe’racer. This is not progress!